Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Downton Abbey Dress -- A Fixer Project

This was a test run, I'm holding the back closed as I was too lazy to have all the little dingleball closures done up.  Sorry for the blurry pic, this is the best I have right now.
I'll begin my letting you all know that I didn't finish the Regency dress project in time for the ball - ugh.  I had a number of fitting challenges that I could not meet on my more Victorian oriented dress form.  I will post some of my work later but since I am planning to wear my real Edwardian dress this weekend I thought I would talk about my fixer project.

This wonderful dress (sorry about the really bad photos) was purchased as part of a lot several years ago, and has one small stressed fabric area in front but other than that surprisingly intact.  The heavy lace work is exquisite!  And the crazy thing is the dress fits as thought it was made for me.  Motivated by a new commitment to work on projects this year, the Downton Abbey series, and an opportunity to wear it, I pulled it out and started to think about what to do.

I started by soaking the dress in cold water with a little oxyclean in it.  The first round was really just the hem and quickly turned the bathwater yellow.  The dress has heavy crochet lace that is padded and lots of "dingle-berries."  The woman I bought the dress from didn't think it should be soaked because of the dingles but there was not other way to begin getting it clean.  I took the risk.  Three soakings later, two hem only and one whole dress, the whole garment looks better!

Second soaking, bad stain area outlined in green.
There are several spots that need mending on the lace.  Nothing major on most of the dress, but there are small areas on the sleeve ends that I'm not sure how to tackle.  I will pick up cotton thread, maybe button hole twist that will be colour matched and give it a try.  A few hook and eyes need repair but overall the dress is SO intact.  Not one of the dingles are missing.

What would be perfect with this dress are American Duchess' new Edwardian Shoes. You can see them here:

Although my shoes are ok, her's would be wonderful!  What colour would you want?  

Here are some details of the lace on my dress.  When I get it photographed better I will put new photos up:


  1. Oxyclean is excellent! I am glad you were able to clean the dress up - it is quite a gorgeous piece!

  2. Congrats, m'dear, I've awarded you the "Very Inspiring Blogger" award! (